Because the love of cars shouldn't be limited just to us two-legged folk
Being a gearhead isn't something you can limit to just men or women, kids or adults, or even human beings. Our furry friends love cars too, though not quite in the same way as we do. For our canine counterparts they're a means of getting to the park for a walk, or going out on some adventure on the weekends. So in the world of cars and canines, which are the best cars for dogs? We found ten vehicles we feel are best suited for dogs and their owners, and the many excursions they might go on together.These are the best of the best for the barking mad.
It's the cheapest of the lot on this list, but the Subaru Crosstrek has been proving itself as an exceptional adventure vehicle for two generations now. It's the compact based on the Subaru Impreza, but with a lifted ride height to help the Crosstrek go anywhere. It's the perfect vehicle to go in search of an adventure – be it the local dog park or hiking through the great outdoors with man's best friend in tow. With the rear seats dropped, there's up to 51.9 cubic feet worth of dog-volume – which is below the segment average, so the Crosstrek might best be reserved for the medium sized labradoodles rather than the Great Danes of the world.
The Jeep Wrangler is potentially the ultimate off-roader – particularly in short wheelbase for maximum break-over ability. But it's also the ultimate wind-in your hair kinda vehicle too – remove the roof, take off the doors, and you're good to go for an open-air adventure that would get any doggy tongue wagging. But the Wrangler is good for more than just open air and getting to the most remote places. It's also rugged, outside and in – the cloth seats are durable and resistant to dirt, and the rubber matting is resistant to all kinds of dog-prone dirt. Better still, when things get dirty, you can quite literally wash the Wrangler out with a hose, and the plugs in the floor will help drain it all.
The Volvo XC90 might be the ultra-spacious 7-seat SUV topping the Volvo line-up, but its high load sill make it less than ideal for our four-legged friends to climb out of, and more specifically, in to. The Volvo V90 Cross Country, however, is pretty much perfect for the job. It boasts just about all the spaciousness of the XC90, but in a package that's lower, easier to climb in and out of, and complete with rugged body cladding that's resistant to pooch-related scratches. The Volvo safety technologies – including pedestrian, cyclist, and large animal detection – ensure that the V90 Cross Country is capable of keeping canines safe both inside and outside of it.
Not only is it one of the more budget-friendly alternatives on this list, but the Buick Regal TourX is absolutely gargantuan inside. With the rear seats dropped flat, canine-capacity swells to an incredible 73.5 cubic feet. Paired with raised ride height, all-wheel drive, and a trick clutch-pack differential, the TourX can get anywhere, and take all the dogs along too. Though the roof may be a little low for some dogs, the optional moonroof gives the cabin an open-air feel, without compromising on the safety of our four legged friends.
The Subaru Forester in all its previous iterations has been a deserving chariot of man and his best friend, capable of going on great outdoor excursions, rugged enough to stand the test of time, and built with a basic enough interior to survive all canine antics. But the latest incarnation one ups all that have come before. With the rear seats folded, it boasts 76.1 cubic feet, with a high roof to boot. The tailgate opening is bigger than before, and crucially, the cargo bay floor and sides are made of a new dirt-resistant, scuff resistant, easily cleanable material to ensure no matter how dirty your canine's adventures are, the mess is always easily dealt with.
The new Volvo V60 is likely to sell in fairly limited numbers – blame SUVs for that – but that doesn't make it any less appealing to owners of dogs and their pups alike. Big trunk volume is a given when it comes to station wagons, and the new V60 features space in abundance when compared to its outgoing predecessor. There's enough space for the whole family with pets in tow, and the high lifting tailgate and wide loading aperture make it easy for the pooches to hop in and out with ease. Add to that the same safety features as the V90 Cross Country, and it's a safe option for all.
Not all pet owners are wealthy, so why should all the options on this list cater to those who can afford a little more luxury? The Ford EcoSport is one of the cheapest SUVs currently on sale at a base MSRP of $19 995; but it also features a large trunk and a wide loading aperture. The seating position and overall stance is upright to make the most of compact dimensions, which also ensures that even with all five seats up, the trunk is large enough for even taller dogs.
Big dogs need a big ride, and when it comes to family vehicles, few are as spacious as the Dodge Journey. With space for up to seven occupants, the loading bay becomes completely cavernous with seats stowed for maximum space. Paired with wide door openings, and a raised – but not excessively tall ground clearance, the Journey is perfect for the family – including the furry faced members of the clan.
When it comes to dog-friendly rides, lots of cargo space and a flat floor are must haves. The Honda CR-V delivers with 75.8 cubic feet of cargo volume and a flat trunk – but more than this it offers one of the lowest load floors in class, making it easy for ingress and egress of your four legged friend. It's also safe, offers a capable, but refined ride quality, and is relatively efficient so you can spend the extra money on dog toys rather than gas.
What's a mommy-wagon doing on here? Simple – space and easy access are two prime needs for a dog carrying vehicle, two things the Pacifica has in abundance. Fido can hop in easily either through the rear tailgate or through the side doors that slide open to avoid the potential for mishaps such as slammed doors on tails or overexcited pooches crashing into arm rests. Also to the Pacifica's credit is the low floor – much lower than the standard SUV height, to make it easier for smaller dogs, or less effort for larger ones to get in and out. There's even a hybrid version if you feel like saving gas and the environment on your way to puppy classes.
For as long as there have been fast family wagons, there's been the standing joke that the kids will never be late for school again. But family wagons have always had the benefit of being able to ferry the whole family, and the dogs to boot. It stands to reason then that the fast family wagon ensures the dogs will never be late for puppy-classes again – and the Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon is by far the quickest way to get them there.
With 603 horsepower courtesy of its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and with all-wheel drive to keep things grounded, the AMG E63 S Wagon is monumentally quick, with the added benefit of space for your high-octane loving canine companion. A word of caution though, speed and canine passengers don't go together simultaneously – only exercise one at a time.